Now the Russians are Coming.

So, the nicety of ecumenical collusion takes place by diplomatic letter:

Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad wrote Bishop Duncan of Pittsburg, Bishop Salmon of South Carolina and Bishop Scofield of San Joaquin a letter late in August. In it the Metropolitan said:

“We have learnt from the mass media that you have decided to refrain from recognizing the Presiding Bishop Elect of the Episcopal Church in the USA, Ms. Cathrine Jefferts-Shori. It follows from the released letter you signed that this step was motivated by your refusal to accept the election of a woman to the post of the head of a Church as a gross violation of the old church Tradition. I would like to assure you that I fully share the stand you have taken.

In due time, the Russian Orthodox Church also took not an easy step by ceasing on December 26, 2003, her contacts with the Episcopal Church in the USA because of the ‘consecration’ of Gene Robinson, an open homosexual, as bishop. Through this act, the sinful way of life strictly condemned by Holy Scriptures has been supported by church leaders - the fact that defies any reasonable explanation.”

Thinking Anglicans has outlined the confusions in this letter. Here is a small addition:

The Metropolitan carefully does not acknowledge that Bishop Jefferts Schori (misspelling her first name and hyphenating her last, misspelling Schori (I’ve done that myself) IS a bishop. No recognition of orders there.

The consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson is in single quotes, indicating that the Metropolitan does not believe he was consecrated at all. No recognition of orders there.

The lack of recognition of Bishop Jefferts Schori as a bishop is, I suppose, because the Metropolitan does not believe woman can be ordained and therefore the ordination is an appearance only. No consecration. The lack of recognition of Bishop Robinson is, I suppose, because notable sinners (sinful way of life) should not be ordained and if ordained are ordained in pretense, again in appearance only.

If the Episcopal Church bishops addressed in this letter think the Russians are coming to rescue them from the terror of women and gay people, they have another think coming. When the time comes there will be nice ecumenical outreach letters to some other folk suggesting perhaps that anyone made a bishop in the ecclesial system of the Episcopal Church is only a bishop in appearance only.

Divide and conquer is an old game, played best by old men who have forgotten that we are all pilgrims on the Way.


  1. Douglas Hayes24/8/06 11:30 AM

    What right does a church whose bishops have yet to address much less express regret for their collaboration with the Soviet authorities (am I right in saying that some were KGB operatives?) have to deny the validity of another church's bishop on the grounds of the morality of his life?

  2. The Russian Orthodox Church, if I recall correctly, doesn't believe in ecumenicisim anyway. But I may be thinking of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia... except I think they just merged, except for the extremists.

    Man, my head hurts keeping track of Anglicanisim's branches, I'm not going to pretend I know what's going on with other churches. I'm just going to get ready for choir rehersal tonight and working the soup kitchen on Saturday.

  3. The Russian Orthodox Church probably should have broken off with the entire Anglican Communion over the ordination of women as deacons or priests. Initial ordination of women is, for the Orthodox, apparently an impossibility--so there has been an invalidation of orders for a long time.

    There is something other than what is concealed by the undergarments of the Presiding Bishop-elect at issue. I suspect it is what is speculated to happen behind the closed doors of a house in New Hampshire.

    But the Orthodox are, nonetheless, encouraging the retrogression of the conservative splinters off the Anglican tree. Why is this at all surprising?

    The surprise is that it has taken this long.

  4. How ridiculous for them to make these ocmments, and I'm sure Duncan and company are all just so pleased with themselves that they were actually acknowledged by the Orthodox.
    And keeping up with the orthodox churches is sometimes a more impossible task than with the multiple splinters of anglicans.

  5. As a former member of the Orthodox Church (now an Anglican seminarian), the metropolitan's comments are hardly surprising. Orthodoxy has never had much use for ecumenism or, for that matter, the Anglican Communion in general, though at a glance, one might conclude otherwise. It comes as no surprise that a bishop of the Moscovite church has made such a communique.

    Let Duncan and their 'Orthopox' group revel in this: it is simply a gesture from Moscow, nothing more and it does not mean ultimately that they recognize Duncan's orders any more than they do those of the Presiding Bishop Elect.

    Forget about relations with other bodies; they don't recognize our orders and never really did, no matter what they have said to our faces in the past. It's time to simply move on and let the schismatics do their thing. Fr. Jake has posted an excellent summation of what SHOULD be done next.

  6. Well, the Orthodox are all over the place -- to be expected when there are seventeen (IIRC) jurisdictions -- I had a monk friend who transferred from the American Orthodox Church (not to be confused with OCA) to the Greeks Orthodox Church because the AOC was becoming too gay friendly -- one parish near us is Greek & just about everyone there is Greek by ancestry -- the other nearby parish used to be under the Patriarch of Moscow but has now become OCA -- they are almost all disaffected former Lutherans or Episcopalians (like the pastor -- a former Episcopal priest who remained quite fond of us) -- the Church in Greece is in the process of restoring the order of deaconesses (probably only for post-menopausal nuns & distinguishing it from the diaconate, but it is a start) -- the Patriarch of Constantinople who conditionally recognized the validity of Anglican orders (in1922?) fled his office during the war between Greece & Turkey & ended up as Melkite Patriarch of Alexandria.
    None of this does anything to usher in the Kingdom or build up the Body or feed the hungry or shelter the homeless poor, alas.

  7. Having already demonstrated to the church catholic that TEC's discernment of the leading of the Spirit is all that matters, isn't time to just acknowledge that your claim to membership in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church is self-proclaimed and unrecognized by that same church?

  8. "the church catholic" and "unrecognized by that same church", Anonymous?

    What imaginary "the church catholic" are you talking about?

    In terms of the members of the great Eastern and Western catholic/orthodox traditions, there will be some who don't recognize TEC's discernment, and some who do (and don't kid yourself, Anon, that there aren't any of the latter! Most Episcopalians know some ;-D)

  9. I've discussed over on my blog the seemingly huge misunderstanding that the Russian Orthodox leadership have made with regard to the alternative oversight crowd's position. Duncan and Salmon both ordain women, so they cannot possibly dissent from her election as Presiding Bishop because of her gender. It makes sense, I suppose, that the Metropolitan would write to a bishop who does not ordain women (Schofield), but why not Bishop Iker too?

  10. These people deserve each other. I think they live out the epistle of Jude. May they go in peace.


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